What’s in That Prayer? The Collect for Saint Hedwig

Here is the oration that the Church prays in the Mass and Office for Saint Hedwig (October 16):

Deus, qui beátam Hedwígem a sǽculi pompa ad húmilem tuæ crucis sequélam toto corde transíre docuísti: concéde; ut eius méritis et exémplo discámus peritúras mundi calcáre delícias, et in ampléxu tuæ crucis ómnia nobis adversántia superáre.

Here is my translation:

O God, who hast taught the blessed Hedwig to pass from the pomps of this passing life to the humble following of Thy Cross with all her heart: grant that by her merits and example, we may learn to spurn the perishable pleasures of the world, and in the embrace of Thy Cross to overcome all things that oppose us.

Here is the translation from the Divinum Officium site:

O God, Who didst teach thy blessed hand-maid Hedwig to turn away from the glory of the world, and with all her heart to take up her Cross and follow thee, teach us, for her sake and after her example, to hold light the perishing pleasures of this present world, and cleaving ever unto thy Cross to rest in the end more than conquerors over all things that would hurt us.

Saint Hedwig was a queen who became a Cistercian nun, so she passed from the pomps of the court to the humble obscurity of the cloister in this embrace of the religious state. But even before she entered religious life, while she was yet a married woman and a queen, she embraced the Cross of Jesus by much fasting as well as many penances and humble good works done for the poor. To intensify her devotion, after having children, she and her husband eventually agreed to live in continence, thus she heroically embraced the counsel of chastity while yet a married woman. Truly she spurned the perishable pleasures of this world even when she had full access to them!

The feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross was just over a month ago, but its lesson is repeated here. By the “embrace” of Holy Cross — and only by that — we can overcome what opposes us, namely, the world, the flesh, and the devil. The noun amplexus, which I’ve translated “embrace” can also mean “coil” or “grasp”; the related verb, amplector, means surround, encircle or entwine, embrace, hug, clasp or grasp, and — by extension — esteem and cherish.

Let us, by the merits and example of Saint Hedwig, be joined to the Holy Cross of Jesus in all those ways, entwining ourselves and our members in the fruitful branches of the Tree of Life.

Dr. Peter Kwasniewski has authored a wonderful polemical piece on this very collect at Rorate Caeli. He’s showing the inherent superiority of this sublime oration over what has replaced it in the novus ordo. (Thanks to Rorate for the image below.)